special tribute
Norris Embry

Introduction | Thomas Messer curriculum vitae | Tribute 2006 | Tribute 1982 | Tribute 1975


During the course of Norris Embry's artistic career (1947 - 1981) there were a number of individuals who played a key role in recognizing Embry's great talent as an artist and painter.

Captivated by Norris Embry's bold, eclectic and innovative vision, they made significant contributions to advancing an ever-widening awareness of Embry's work, and to establishing Norris Embry's position as an important figure in American modern art.

Over the past fifty years one of Embry's most influential and committed admirers has been Thomas Messer. In 1958 Messer, who was then Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, organized Embry's first one-man museum exhibition in the United States.

That event attracted the notice of New York galleries, and from then on Norris Embry's commercial career was assured. In 1961 in Thomas Messer was appointed to head the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Throughout his long tenure at the Guggenheim, Messer continued to encourage Embry's work and career.

This is evidenced by two tributes: in 1975/76 for Norris Embry's one-man show at the Baltimore Museum of Art; and in 1982, on the occasion of a memorial exhibit in New York City.

Thomas Messer's admiration for the life and work of Norris Embry continues to this day. In 2006 he wrote a special tribute to honor the 25th anniversary of Norris Embry's death. In a note to Norris Embry's niece, attached to the tribute, he wrote, "The art of Norris remains vividly in my mind and has become even more pertinent a contribution to modern art as validated through the passage of time."

The Norris Embry Estate expresses its deep appreciation to Mr. Messer for his support of Norris Embry over nearly a half-century, and for his latest memorial tribute.

Tribute overview

Drawn by the artist at age 12 (circa 1933)